Lorna Slater has taken credit for £1billion of income tax rises as she announced a new levy on cruise ships visiting Scotland.

The co-leader of the Scottish Greens said councils would be empowered to tax the vessels, with the biggest polluters facing the biggest bills.

She also announced preliminary work on a new “carbon land tax” to encourage woodland creations and peatland restoration.

The Circular Economy minister was speaking at her party’s conference in Dunfermline, where she was cheered after boasting about surviving a no confidence vote at Holyrood.

Ms Slater kept her job after a 68-55 vote in which the Tories, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and SNP rebel Fergus Ewing tried to oust her in June over the failed deposit return recycling scheme.

Branding her opponents the “coalition against change”, she told delegates: “When I tried to introduce a can and bottle recycling scheme they acted as if the world was going to end.

“They said it went too far. They said that all we had to do was wait for a UK scheme with no details, no dates and no plan.

“The coalition against change all lined up together. All of them. The Tories, Labour, and all of the vested interests and their friends. They lined up together and they tried to remove me.

“It did not work. 

“Because this isn’t about me. It’s about all of us. It is about our movement.

They failed. And they will continue to fail, because the Green movement has the momentum. 

“Our movement is the future.”

On tax, she said the Greens supported the principle of progressive taxation, and had been instrumental in raising more tax from the better off.

She said: “In Scotland, most people pay less tax than those in England while those who can contribute, pay more. We made that happen.

“Our income tax changes have meant that a billion pounds more every year is being invested in public services across Scotland. 

“We all benefit from that - better schools, hospitals, libraries.

“We are empowering councils to double council tax for second homes, and have introduced legislation that will allow councils to charge a levy on overnight stays by tourists.” 

The £1billion figure was based on the Greens supporting the SNP in creating new income tax bands and then freezing thresholds.

She said the next step would be to let councils  “charge visiting cruise ships a levy”. 

She explained: “This will mean communities that host cruise ships get the investment they deserve, and it is my intention to ensure that Councils are empowered to charge the most polluting ships more. 

“This is essential – a typical ship produces the same amount of carbon emissions as 12,000 cars; operators have been allowed to get away with polluting for too long. 

“A cruise ship levy will empower councils to help tackle this global problem.”

Cruise ships dock at more than a dozen sites in Scotland including Greenock, Leith, Oban,  Dundee, Rosyth, Portree, Peterhead, Orkney, Shetland, and multiple ports in the Highlands.

More than 800,000 cruise passengers visited Scotland in 2019 with around 900 calls to port.

The levy is intended to complement the overnight visitor levy, which does not apply to tourists on cruise ships.

The Greens said the definition of cruise ship for the purpose of the levy had yet to be worked out in discussion with councils.

Barcelona has already announced a ban on cruise ships, while Norway only allows zero emission ships to sail its fjords. 

Electric cruise ships are being built in China and Scandinavia.